Yesterday I jokingly said I wanted to relocate to wherever in the world the weather is 72 degrees and sunny 365 days a year. The last two days have been simply incredible. Even better, it’s Labor Day weekend and I cannot recall a time in recent memory where the holiday has been anywhere near as gorgeous.
Yes, it’s been blustery. And yes, I rode off directly into the headwinds both yesterday and today. And yes, it was quite a workout chugging up hill after hill with Mother Nature blowing me all around the road. But the grass is green, the sky is blue, and the sunflowers are in bloom. Who pays attention to wind when it’s like that outside?
I’ve been attempting to record at least one metric century each month this year. However, I didn’t set out this morning with that in mind at all; the extent of my plan was to ride until I got hungry, stop and eat the cold cheese and brat that I had found in the refrigerator leftover from yesterday afternoon’s family get-together, and ride back again.
The roads to the north of us can generously be defined as “rolling hills.” With the wind in my face I pointed my bicycle due north and headed down an old country highway. The shoulder was non-existent and the cars and trucks that occasionally blew past me rarely slowed down at all. I was glad to be on the heavier Shogun touring bike today and even though that bike feels like it’s plodding along, I was confident in the stability – especially when a big gust would hit me at nearly the same instant a farm truck would be passing.
On a day like this, with the winds wicking moisture from my body it seems like I’m not perspiring at all. At such times I have to remind myself to hydrate. I was fifteen miles down the road and turning into the crosswinds before I uncapped the first water bottle. Snacking as I rode, I didn’t feel the need for refueling until I was forty-some miles into the ride. As I passed through a small town square, I stopped for a few minutes to sit on a park bench and snack on the brat and cheese.
Although the Shogun is slower than the racier road bikes in my collection, I’ve gone to great lengths to outfit her with racks and bags. I’ve written before about the Ozette Rando Bag from Swift Industries that I have decaleur-mounted to the front. The more I ride with it, the more dependent I become on this bag: although it’s easy to remove, the bag has become a staple accessory for this bike. I recently traded for a (very!) vintage Carradice saddle bag to give me a little more carrying capacity. This is great for when I commute and need an extra pair of shoes and a change of clothing. On today’s ride it simply carried an extra jersey with short sleeves in case I got hot and wanted to change. I have front and back panniers too but of course those are simply overkill for a day ride. Today I wanted an extra shirt, my camera, the requisite emergency tools and cell phone, and food. Long story short: my bags came through.
As I sit on my back porch writing these words, I notice that the wind is dying down. Even after 65+ miles, my legs still feel fairly fresh. From my lawn chair I can see my 1972 Peugeot PX-10 hanging in the studio. You know, there’s still an awful lot of daylight left in this fine day…